After months of preparation, Barrow has a new project on the horizon that will be supporting its night-time economy (NTE) every Saturday night. Street Angels are safe people who patrol a community hub ‘typically town and city centres’ on weekends.
There are 130 projects within the CNI Network [www.cninetwork.org] family, working on the streets, in clubs, at festivals, etc. Street Angels is an exciting ministry. It shows that the church cares about the community it serves and about the problems associated with the night-time economy since so many of our town and city centres change character on weekend nights. Street Angels is about offering safe people and a safe place within this culture. We want the town of Barrow to continue to have a thriving night-time economy and for people to enjoy their night out, but also to stay safe and be responsible. Therefore, we would want to support the police and businesses in the town at peak times each month to show that the church cares about its community.
The project aims to start on Saturday 7th October, then every Saturday thereafter between the hours of midnight and 5am. Groups of individuals will be supporting people along Cavendish Street with, flips flops, lollipops, foil blankets and a listening ear. There have been over 24 volunteers who have pledged their support in being involved on a regular basis. Barrow Street Angels Coordinator, Rev Sophie Carnaby commented, “It‘s amazing to have so many people who want to volunteer on the streets during a Saturday night. It’s a real opportunity to show Barrow that there are many who care for the welfare of people in our town”.
Barrow Street Angels are commissioning their volunteers who have completed the first phase of training,on Monday 25th September, 7pm at Trinity Church Centre, Barrow. ‘The service is open to all to, hear more about the project or support its volunteers.Mr Paul Blakey MBE, the founder of Street Angels will be speaking at the service, which will also be attended by Police representatives including Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Mr Peter McCall. Mr McCall commented on the project, “We know lots of people get into difficultly after having too much to drink. These people need help and a kind ear and someone who can point them in the right direction and make sure they get home safely. This is a great way to work WITH the Police and WITH the community, that’s the really important thing. My mantra is ‘we not they’, we shouldn’t expect other people to pick up the pieces. The police and others haven’t got those resources.We’ve seen around the country, Street Pastors and Street Angels save the time of the Police and NHS A&Es get blocked up with those who don’t need to be there. They just need someone to point them in the right direction and give them a hand. I really welcome Street Angels to Barrow”.
Rob O’ Connor, Superintendent for Policing in Cumbria has also welcomed the new project, “I am extremely grateful to the volunteers who have formed Barrow Street Angels and will give up their own time on Saturday nights, and some Bank Holiday weekends and festive Fridays”. They will be a fantastic addition to assist other partners and licensees in ensuring those who visit Barrow Town Centre can enjoy the night time economy. The Barrow Street Angels will assist the Police by reducing some of our demand i.e. they will support people who have lost their friends, are struggling to get home, or just need a friendly face to talk to. They are independent of the Police, but I am really looking forward to my officers working alongside them, as we all want the Town Centre to be safe from trouble where those on a night out can enjoy themselves with friends”
So over the next few months look out for small groups of volunteers who are giving up their time and sleep to support those enjoying themselves on a Saturday night. Volunteers will be easily identifiable with their orange coats on. Please do say hello to them if you‘re out on a night. If you’re interested in giving your time to become a volunteer, or you’d like to donate flip flops or make a donation for the ongoing work, please contact Rev Sophie Carnaby through their Facebook Page, ‘Barrow Street Angels’.
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